Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Sale!

Baltimore is looking quite PURPLE these days!  Everyone is getting more and more excited for the game Sunday.  We have been wearing purple for weeks at school now and tomorrow we are having a big pep rally!  I can't wait!  :)

To celebrate the big game, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a mega sale!  There will be a ton of stores participating, mine included :), so it is definitely worth checking out!  See the flyer below for more details!  Don't forget to enter the promo code SUPER to get the great deals!

Go, Ravens!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to combine PDF documents!

I was super jazzed to find the post on Pinterest from Mary on Adventures in Kindergarten on how to how to have landscape and portrait layouts in the same document!  It was a little different on Mac, but just knowing it was possible was life changing!  Buuuut then Apple had to throw a wrench in my little discovery by throwing me a curveball.  When I went to save my documents it saved them as separate PDF files.  My unit I had been working on for weeks was saved as 16 different pdfs!  Eeks!  This was definitely a bummer when I was finally feeling like my work was over and less than helpful when I was trying to post my pretty, unit on TpT.

This prompted an internet search which then led to watching several tutorials.  An hour later I finally had my document back in one piece.  The kicker for me was that process was different depending on which operating system you used.  So even after watching the first tutorial and thinking I had it under control....nope, nope, nope.  After more digging I realized it was because I recently had upgraded to the Mountain Lion operating system and that apparently made a difference for how you were able to combine the documents.  Since this whole debacle made me want to -- poundmyheadagainstawall ;) -- I thought I would share what I found in case anyone else found themselves in the same situation.  :)

If you are using the Mountain Lion (OSX 10.8) these tutorials made it very easy to figure out.  Macintosh How To post goes through step by step and includes pictures.  If you are using an OSX before Mountain Lion, see this post by Macintosh How To.  As they mention in their post, there are many programs that offer to do this for you, but this is so easy!

Here are some of the ways that learning how to do this and use Preview has really rocked my world -

1.  I can combine documents that I made at different times without having to fiddle with combining them in Word. (Word can be a little more than frustrating sometimes, right?) I had so many things that I wanted to put together and share for different units. When I would try to add pages on and cut and paste from each document.  It was a nightmare.  Now I can just open up the different PDF files and plop them into one.  :)

2.  You can not only combine the PDFs but rearrange the pages within the PDF document!  Holy cow. This was pretty huge for many reasons.  You can make parts of your document with different programs (PowerPoint, Word, Publisher, etc.) and combine them into one....and put them in whatever order you want.

3.  Have you ever tried to delete a page from one of your units and everything beneath it just gets all crazy crazy?  Even if you're not combining PDFs if you open them up in Preview and select view thumbnails, you can just click on them and delete!

These are just a few of the ways it has helped me.  If you have the Mountain Lion OSX, I say check it out.  I think you'll be a fan like me.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment.  I would love to help! :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Target Dollar Section and a Valentine's Freebie

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
I'll tell you what!  That dollar section at Target never lets me down.  Here are some of the goodies I found last night!

Check out these adorable little dry erase boards!  They are going to be great for small groups!

Heart dice!  With the countless dice games that I have and the fact that we are starting our next addition and subtraction unit on Monday, these puppies just made my day.  I am pretty sure my kiddos will be just as excited as I am.  The little things right?

When we took our pre-assessment, I noticed that many of my students are going to need more practice with the equations where the equals sign is not in its "normal" place.  We touched on it in our last unit, but there is a lot more of that in this unit.  I made a couple recording sheets to reinforce that concept with my new dice.  :)  Feel free to grab a copy here for your class if you can use it!

Then I treated myself to this awesome color ("more film") by Essie.  I live in Baltimore and we have a pretty big game this weekend.  Go Ravens!

Have a fabulous weekend!  Aren't three day weekends the best?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Behavior System

This is the behavior system I use in my classroom.  I got the idea from a teacher I used to work with and I've been loving it and using it ever since.  Students start with their clips each day on the "Piggy Bank."  Throughout the day students move their names up for a variety of things.  When I catch students following the rules or participating they move their name up.  With each move up they earn something different. (Prizes are given before dismissal, not each time they move their clip.)  The goal is to move it to the penny by the end of the day to earn a stamp on their behavior calendar that goes home every day to be signed by their parents.  (This also keeps me mindful of trying to find something positive to reinforce for each child at some point throughout the day.)  If they make it to the nickel they get a ticket which is something our school uses to reinforce students following our code of conduct.  Dimes get to go to the treasure chest and quarters dun dun dun...get a quarter stamp on their calendar and get a choice of some of my special prizes.

I love this system for many reasons.  The first being that it focuses on recognizing positive behavior.  Students can move their names down, but for the most part, when I tell someone to move their name up, it quickly focuses the other students on their own behavior and they work to make better choices.  Another reason I love it is it is a great reinforcement of the different coins and their values.  Finally, the kids love it and so do their families.  I have gotten so much great feedback from families about this system.  Some of my parents even have their own prizes for when their child comes home with a quarter stamp.  :)  Grab a copy for your room from my TpT store!

Consonant Digraphs

We have been working on consonant digraphs in our class over the past week or so.  I wanted a new center to go along with it.  I know there are many monster themed centers out there, but they are so cute I wanted to add one more to the mix.  I also just can't get enough of the clipart over at My Cute Graphics!  She is a very talented lady!  Her clipart and backgrounds are just adorable and FREE!  You can grab the activity from my TpT store!

Classroom Tidbits

Happy New Year!  I can't believe vacation is almost over!  I have been trying a few new things in the class this year and wanted to share some of the things that have been making my life easier!

I love bins, I am a bit fanatical when I go through that dollar section at Target.  The drop box I use to collect notes and other papers that students bring in (mostly in the morning) so they don't get lost on my desk.  My desk eats things.  :)

The recess bin gets taken outside each day by my Recess Helper.  It has wipes, antibacterial, gloves, bandaids, nurse passes, and a class list.  It has come in handy most days because it has so many things that end up being needed at one time or another.  My favorite part is that because it is a classroom job, I don't have to remember to bring it out or back in.  :)

One of the teachers I work with suggested this idea at our first faculty meeting this year and I thought it was so smart!  When kids are pulled for speech, OT, reading groups, etc., they put the cup on their desk  to say they are out of the room.  It makes it easy to glance around the room and see who has been pulled.  

Arrival tends to get hectic.  Getting 20 1st graders to come in and get settled quickly is always a task. This year I use these little cards to help motivate students to get moving through their routine quickly and quietly.  Once they get their things away, homework out, and begin their morning work, I start handing these out.  I choose 3 students to go to the computer and 3 to go to the Activity Table.  I have some sort of game or flip chart on the computer and some sort of game at the table that reinforces different things we have been working on. Both options tend to be more desirable than the morning assignment so it has worked really well when it comes to motivating them to follow that routine and start the day out in a way that keeps me sane and happy.  :)

Hope you had a relaxing break!  I'm still trying to figure out what my New Year's Resolution is going to be this year....anyone have any creative ideas?  :)